For any business professional, recognizing the conscious and subconscious influences of color is crucial to bridging the gap between what you are trying to communicate and what is actually perceived by your audience. Although obvious in nature, color often has imperceptible effects on our minds and attitudes, especially within the business world.
Color literally offers an instantaneous way for a brand to communicate meaning. Because it’s one of the very first things we notice, it should be one of the very first things we pay attention to as business professionals. The question must be asked, “What do the colors of my business say about my business?” Color is a powerful tool within our visual world. When used correctly, it can evoke specific emotions within your target audience and can convey a specific meaning about your business.
Over the next few months, by approaching one color at a time, we hope to expose some of the latent impacts that color has on the human mind. In turn, we hope to reveal how color can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your marketing. For now, let’s take a broad look at color psychology.
Color can be broken down into two basic categories: warm (reds, yellows, oranges) and cool (blues, greens, purples). The associations here are obvious, and we all can relate to being in situations where we don’t just see color, but we feel it too. For example, warm colors can be associated with feelings ranging from comfort, friendliness, and being welcome to rage and hostility. On the other hand, cool colors have their own range of associated emotions, ranging from tranquility and peace to sadness, depression, and apathy.
So, what does this broad breakdown of color mean for businesses? It means that the way a business communicates is more than just visual; it’s emotional. It’s about experiencing that company’s product. Ultimately, people will associate a business with the colors that business uses. Starbucks. Coca-Cola. UPS. Each one leads our mind to a specific color, evoking specific emotions, thoughts, or attitudes. Some of them we pick up on and some of them we do not, but by using signature colors, these three brands build visual and emotional recognition of their product or service.
It’s easy to underestimate the power of color, limiting it to merely a visual element. However, smart business professionals would do well to seek a deeper understanding of the importance of color.
As you may know, each week we feature a distinct color on our Facebook page. A recent color was Pantone 193C, more commonly known and seen as the red in Borders’ logo. Red is associated energy, war, strength, power, redemption, passion, and love. Borders, seeking to offer popular culture on a mass scale, did well in picking a brand color that conveys a variety of different emotions, while at the same time speaks to the power that visual, musical, literary culture can have. The dark red suggests a warm and inviting tone, which is true of any Borders environment. Check out this week’s color and see how it makes you feel. Learn more about how color speaks by reading What Does Blue Do For You?, Use Red With Caution, and Find Your Inner Green.
Stay tuned as we continue to explore the complex nature of color and its impacts on our attitudes within today’s culture and economy.